Course evaluation

Course evaluation questionnaires provide detailed feedback for a given paper, course or programme on such matters as:

  • student outcomes and effort
  • instructor skills and attitudes
  • course organisation
  • components
  • requirements and materials
  • good design and teaching in distance education

The University expects that a course evaluation questionnaire will be run for every paper at least once every three years. This questionnaire has the flexibility to provide essential information about student perceptions of the quality of their learning experience. For further guidance, see the document ‘HEDC Advice on Course Evaluation’ (on the right).

The questions for course evaluations can be:

  1. chosen from a catalogue of questions (5-point Likert scale or open-ended comments questions) and customised to suit.
  2. new questions (restricted to the above formats).

There is no set number of questions, but the maximum number should not exceed a total of 30 to avoid overloading students.

The results of course evaluations can be used as evidence of teaching competence when submitting an application for promotion and form part of your Otago Teaching Profile. In this case, they should be accompanied by a context form which shows the extent of your contribution to the course, particularly in team-taught situations.

How to order an evaluation

Please note that we need 5 working days’ notice to set up your questionnaires from when we receive your order (for both paper and online questionnaires).

Order online

You can order questionnaire forms online using Otago inFORM, a new online system for ordering questionnaires quickly and easily. Log in using your University username and password, select which questionnaire type and start designing your questionnaire. Once you are happy with your questionnaire, proceed to checkout and submit your request. You will be sent a confirmation email with the details of your request for your records.

Print off an order form

If you prefer, you can still make your request by completing a paper request form – available for download on the forms and resources page – and returning it by fax, post or email.  Note that you will also need to refer to the course question catalogue to choose your questions. Further instructions are included in the documents.

Questionnaire form delivery method

When you request your evaluation, you will need to specify whether you would like your students to fill out paper questionnaire forms in class, or complete the questionnaire online (a particularly useful option for distance papers).

If using Otago inFORM, you will be asked to select your chosen distribution method at the checkout stage.

If you lodge your questionnaire request by sending in a paper form, you will need to fill in a different form depending on the delivery method you wish to choose. The two forms are labelled on the forms and resources page.

A focus on distance education

You have the opportunity to include in your course evaluation a small set of questions specifically designed for distance courses. The ten questions in the set focus on aspects of courses that are central to good design and teaching in distance education. Using this set of questions on every occasion that you evaluate your course ensures an ongoing opportunity to enhance course quality, and will provide evidence of course improvement.

To include the set of distance education questions, select this template in Otago inFORM, or tick the appropriate box in the course evaluation request form.

Confidentiality policy for course evaluations

Each time a set of course evaluation questionnaires is processed the originals of the questionnaires (if paper-based) and an analysis report is sent to the person who requested the evaluation. An additional copy of the analysis report will be sent to the relevant Head of Academic Department as per the policy change approved by the University’s Pro-Vice Chancellors in 2008. Course and programme development is a collective responsibility of each department and programme. In the rare situation when student questionnaires appear to have been altered inappropriately, they cannot be processed and will be passed to the Head of HEDC and the relevant PVC for advice.

HEDC has produced a document with advice for departments and programmes on course evaluation for course development. Click on the link on the right-hand side of this page to open this document.

Please note: if you wish to run a course evaluation that specifically names another staff member, we will require their written authority. Please complete the course authority form below. By signing this form, each staff member is giving consent to the survey being run with their name on it and the release of the results to other (specified) staff. There are two types of authority: (1) for lecturers, tutors or demonstrators or (2) for team-taught papers.